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Author Topic: The Magic Light Box  (Read 1471 times)
AliciaH
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« on: September 18, 2010, 01:44:52 PM »

When our club judged honey for the fair this year, they placed the jars of honey in front of a box that directed light through the honey.  There were a series of glass panes, some tinted, that allowed the viewer to see how clean and clear the honey was.  The naked eye can't see much, but in what I call "the magic light box", you can clearly see what pollen made it through the strainer and all the thousands of miniscule air bubbles you didn't know you still had!

I've asked folks what the tinted glass panels are, but no one seems to know.

Does anybody out here know what the official name of this box is (so I can do a better search for one), or know what tinting might have been used on the glass?

Thanks!
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Jim 134
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« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2010, 08:32:04 PM »

Hope this help you out.

Extracted honey is judged on seven categories: appearance and uniformity of containers, uniformity and accurate volume of honey, freedom from crystals or impurities, uniformity of color, color and clarity, flavor and aroma, and density.

Appearance and uniformity of containers
If you've ever competed in anything, you probably understand the importance of "show equipment" - but did you realize beekeepers have "show jars" for their honey? Some honey exhibitors inspect several cases of jars to find three perfect specimens that have no imperfections when competing in a honey show.

Uniformity and accurate volume of honey
All three jars of honey submitted should be filled to the middle of the neck ring. "If you fill below that, you're short-changing your customer, or if you fill it too full, you're giving honey away,Judges penalize points for both."

Freedom from crystals or impurities
Honey judges use a special lighted scope called a polariscope that looks straight into the honey jar. They look for granulation as well as for any impurities such as wood, grass, lint, air or wax. Points are deducted if any impurities or granulation are present in the honey.

Uniformity of color
Judges look at the three jars of honey to see consistent color among the three entries to ensure that the honey came from the same source.

Color and clarity
Honey judges also look to make sure that an entry is in the correct color class. If an entry is an improper color for the entered color class, the entrant receives zero points in the color category.

Flavor and aroma
"Judges look for what a beekeeper did or did not do to make the honey bad, Did they add something to the honey? Did they overheat it? Is it high in moisture? If so, this will be reflected in the taste and smell of the honey."

Density
Honey is also judged for its moisture content. "Bees cap honey at 18 percent moisture. The idea moisture content for extracted honey at a show is 16 percent, "Beekeepers should always strive for 16 percent moisture content, because below that percentage it pours much more slowly, and above 18.7 percent, honey tends to ferment." Judges use a special refractometer that measures the moisture content of honey.

So what makes the best honey?
"It depends. Everyone's taste is different, "I've tasted honey that other people thought was wonderful and didn't like it, but I also have favorites that other people don't like." He notes that there are regional favorites. For example, in Kentucky, Sourwood honey is a local favorite, while in the Cleveland and New York state areas, Buckwheat honey is a hit. In England, Heather honey is the hands-down preferred honey.


    BEE HAPPY Jim 134  Smiley

« Last Edit: September 18, 2010, 09:34:09 PM by Jim 134 » Logged

"Tell me and I'll forget,show me and I may  remember,involve me and I'll understand"
        Chinese Proverb

"The farmer is the only man in our economy who buys everything at retail, sells everything at wholesale, and pays the freight both ways."
 John F. Kennedy
Franklin County Beekeepers Association MA. http://www.franklinmabeekeepers.org/
AllenF
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« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2010, 09:16:46 PM »

Building a polariscope can be as easy or complex as you like. On the easy side just having a very bright light source behind a set of polarizing photography filters will work for what you are trying to do. Make a bracket to hold all the elements of the polariscope and then assemble it. Of course it would be a smaller unit but for most uses in honey with such a device are small. If it would need to be a larger device you are going to need a good solid foundation on which to build it. Usually they are build from a good high quality wood and then photo grade polarized glass is put into the frame work and spun around to the point it is needed and then firmly held in place and the whole unit is enclosed other than the "stage" where you are setting the honey to be observed. The main elements in the polariscope for honey observation are polarized glass 2 pieces to run the light through to get it to the right wavelength and a powerful light source. 

From wikianswers.  Cool huh?
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AliciaH
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« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2010, 11:48:32 AM »

Jim:  That's pretty much how the judging went at the fair.  My smallest filter is 200 micron (from the Dadant 600/400/200 set) and I thought I'd done a pretty good job straining and getting almost all the bubbles out until, of course, the magic light box came into play! I was proud of my moisture content, though, 16.6%.  That was the lowest moisture content of all the entries and there were only two of us that managed it! 

Allen:  Thanks for the terminology...polariscope.  Not having seen anything like it outside of beekeeping meetings, I didn't even know what to call it.  I'd asked around a bit, but no one seemed to know the answers even though we had one in the group!  There may be a secret hand shake involved that I don't know about, though!  LOL!  So thanks a lot, it gives me a new path of investigation!

Have a great day!
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Jim 134
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« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2010, 01:29:16 PM »


"Preparing Honey and Hive Products for Show."

http://beekeeperlinda.blogspot.com/2008/10/honey-judging-and-entering-honey.html


http://www.metroatlantabeekeepers.org/suggestions_for_showing_honey.htm


  BEE HAPPY Jim 134 Smiley
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"Tell me and I'll forget,show me and I may  remember,involve me and I'll understand"
        Chinese Proverb

"The farmer is the only man in our economy who buys everything at retail, sells everything at wholesale, and pays the freight both ways."
 John F. Kennedy
Franklin County Beekeepers Association MA. http://www.franklinmabeekeepers.org/
AliciaH
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« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2010, 02:48:01 PM »

Jim, there are many good tips for folks wanting to show their honey in those articles, thank you!
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